Sunday, February 12, 2012

eBook Review: The Caldwell Sisters Trilogy by Lucianne Rivers

Hold Me (Caldwell Sisters, #1)
ebook, 69 pages
Published: August 2nd 2011 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (first published July 27th 2011)

Summary: Still reeling from her mother’s death, news anchor Jane Caldwell’s life is upended further when she learns the father she lost twenty years ago is still alive. Her mother’s will unleashes a manhunt—the Caldwell sisters must find their father, or their mother’s estate will not be settled, and their questions about his disappearance will remain unanswered.

Jane’s search leads her to Guatemala to investigate a man who claims to be her father and heir to the family fortune. Needing a translator, she enlists enigmatic Harrison DeNeuve, a sexy ex-patriot with a penchant for wearing dark sunglasses in public.

As Jane struggles to reunite with her would-be father, Harrison fights to suppress his desire for Jane. He has a secret—one he’s sequestered himself in a third-world jungle hideaway to keep safe—and falling for Jane puts more than his heart at risk.

Jane finds two men in Guatemala—a father and a lover—but can she trust either of them?

My thoughts: I liked this fast paced opening story to this trilogy about three sisters and their subsequent discovery that their long assumed dead father is still alive. Upon reading their mother's will, they learn that whichever sister can locate their father will become the owner of the family ranch. This sends the close sisters on their individual journeys to search for and find their dad. Jane decides to go to Guatamala when she learns her father may be living there. She meets the handsome Harrison DeNeuve while on line at a ticket booth in Mexico and it's instant chemistry. But she's not there to fall in love, her priority is dad.

Why can't Jane have both? When a lead shows promise, Jane hopes the older man standing before her, a man ravaged by years of being a soldier, is her father. Harrison is wary but does not let on, besides, the man who is serving as her translator is hiding a secret of his own. Both secrets are revealed in time and Jane is flying back home taking both her supposed father and boyfriend to the family homestead. Except the ranch is empty--her two sisters are on their own individual quests. 

The scenery and setting in both locations was written well and I enjoyed the sexual tension between Jane and Harrison/Cody in Guatemala. As a level headed businesswoman I found Jane's decision to believe the man posing as her father rash, but figured her decision was emotional (and competitive since ownership of the ranch was at stake). There wasn't that much depth to the characters and yet as a novella it worked out for me. Reading all three of the sisters' stories helped flesh out the family background and their dynamics.

Rating: I liked it.

Cover comment: There is something about this entire series of covers that I absolutely love. The reverse title with the red block and the pictures, especially of all three couples, really captures a moment from their stories.

Thrill Me (Caldwell Sisters, #2)
ebook, 80 pages
Published: September 6th 2011 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (first published September 4th 2011)
Summary: Santa Fe Police Detective Margo Caldwell needs a vacation, but the wild goose chase her mother’s death triggers isn’t quite what she had in mind. Margo and her sisters must locate their father, or the Caldwell estate will remain unsettled—and they’ll never know why their father didn’t return from the Gulf War.

Pursuing a lead, Margo heads to the Virgin Islands in search of Zach Caldwell. To navigate the waters of the Caribbean, she needs a boat and a captain. Too bad Captain Adrian Prince, with his mesmerizing muscles and wicked grin, may be gunrunner.

Adrian takes Margo on his delivery route to small islands near St. Thomas that hide more than wildlife, booze, and sexy boaters. On a remote, mangrove-ridden patch of sand, they find gun-toting Zach Caldwell. When their mission turns deadly, Margo must save Adrian’s life—and her own—even if she loses her heart in the process.

My thoughts: Out of the three stories, this was by far my favorite. Thrill Me had an energy, a liveliness, I didn't feel with the other two. Since making detective at the Santa Fe Police department, Margo hasn't taken a vacation in five years. With the news of her dad being alive, she decides to take time off and delve into a lead which lands her on the Virgin Islands. There she meets Adrian Prince in the hotel gym as she's lifting weights and senses an immediate attraction (the gym scene was one of the best in the story). His girlfriend rushes in, berating him for being late to dinner, and any chance of a hook-up is crushed.

Maybe not. Adrian is impressed by Margo's strength and their chance meetings keep bringing them together. When Adrian breaks off his present relationship, he offers to help Margo by taking her out on his brother's fishing boat to search for a recluse living on an island who may be her father. Little do the both of them know that secrets kept by Adrian's brother and the mysterious stranger will pit the couple in life threatening danger.

I wasn't always convinced of Margo as a policewoman but her strength, both physical and mental, made her likable. This story even moved at a faster pace for me than the others and held my interest. Margo and Adrian were a team to root for and instantly became my favorite of the Caldwell sisters.

Rating: Really enjoyed this one.

Entice Me (Caldwell Sisters, #3)
ebook, 76 pages
Published: October 4th 2011 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (first published September 29th 2011)

Summary: Heartsick over the untimely death of her mother, Allison Caldwell is blindsided again by the secret revealed in her mom’s will. Her supposedly dead father is alive, and she and her two sisters must find him in order to settle the Caldwell estate.

Robert Rivera, private investigator and former Navy SEAL, alerts Allison to new intel identifying her father as a P.O.W. in Afghanistan. With her sisters out of the country pursuing leads, Allison insists on heading to the war-ravaged country to find him. Robert doesn’t want his na├»ve client to take the risk. He knows what danger lays in that godforsaken land…he’s lived through it. Barely.

But Allison is determined to go, and Robert can’t let her travel alone. Reluctantly appreciative, Allison quickly realizes how much she needs his guidance and protection, and how deeply she longs for his love. Robert struggles to understand her effect on his battle-weary heart.

The path to Allison’s father is blocked by terrorists, traps and treachery—all demons of Robert’s past. Can he survive a second round with the enemy and keep Allison out of harm’s way?

My thoughts: As much as I enjoyed the trilogy I struggled a bit with this one--at first. I couldn't believe the youngest sister, Allison, such a homebody and the one closest to their mom, would just decide so quickly to pack up and travel out of the country with such a tidbit of info and go to all places.... Afghanistan? War, bombings, uncertainty, constant headlines, a shy farm girl is going there?

Allison seemed the rightful heir to the Five C Ranch and yet she still had to prove her worth and go traipsing across the globe. At least she doesn't go alone. She employs an ex-Navy Seal, Robert, as her guide. He retired after his team was killed during Operation Black Death and he was wounded. After his recovery he moved to New Mexico. He is attracted to Allison--even if she's 15 years younger than him--to her farm girl's innocence, naivety, and the sheltered life she leads. Since his own father was abusive, he understands her desire to uproot herself and search for a beloved father.

The blossoming relationship between Robert and Allison was what made me toss aside my concern with her leaving the safety of her home believable. Through Robert's eyes--his own childhood experience and feelings of not having a man to look up to--I understood her motives better. As you can guess, Robert became my favorite male hero of the trilogy and by the story's conclusion I was glad that he found love. Allison also grew on me and I enjoyed the satisfying and happy ending to all three of the Caldwell sisters' individual romances and adventures.

Rating: I liked it. 

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